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Curried Pumpkin Soup

Warm up on a cool Fall night!

2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 med onion, peeled & quartered
1 lg. jalapeno pepper seeded & coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery cut into 2-inch lengths
3 lg. carrots peeled & sliced -1/4 inch thick
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 3/4 lb. pumpkin peeled, seeded & cut into 1-inch dice
3 c low-salt chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c shelled raw pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley freshly ground pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. sour cream (optional)

• Place garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add onion and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside. Place jalapeno in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add celery and pulse until finely chopped.Set aside. Place carrots in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

• Heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add jalapeno, celery, and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, chicken stock, bay leaf, curry, turmeric, cayenne, 1 tsp. of the salt, and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.

• Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan, heat remaining tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 1/2 t salt and cook for about 30 seconds, shaking pan constantly to prevent burning, until all the seeds have popped. Remove from heat and add parsley. Place 2 cups of the cooked vegetables and about 1/2 cups of the liquid in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Stir puree back into the soup. Adjust sea- sonings, and stir in the sour cream, if desired. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds and a dollop of sour cream.

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